A good conversation always starts with “hello”. So, if you are looking to have a great conversation with your English-speaking friends or relatives, you need to learn how to say hello in English. This article offers you 11 different ways to say hello in English and how to respond.
The Basic “Hello”
What do you normally say when you pick up the phone to answer a call or when you meet someone new? Obviously, you say “hello”. This is the typical form of greeting in the standard English language.
According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the word hello was first published in 1827. However, it was mainly used as a way of attracting attention, not as a form of greeting. Some people also used it to express surprise. For instance, they could say, “hello, what have we here?” or “hello, what do you think you are doing?”
Over time, people started using hello to greet each other. But the word “hello” was later shortened to “hi”, especially after the advent of the telephone.
The Oxford Dictionary claims that hello was put into common usage by Thomas Edison, a famous American inventor and businessman, who invented many devices in different fields, including electric power generation, sound recording, motion pictures, mass communication, among others.
Edison urged people who bought his telephone to say “hello” when making or receiving calls. The success of the word “Hello” is also attributed to the first phone books, which included authoritative “How To” sections on their first pages. In these sections, the word “hello” was the officially sanctioned greeting.
What Do People Really Mean When They Ask “How Are You”?
More often than not, the first thing that someone will say to you when you meet them is, “how are you?” In most cases, this question usually doesn’t mean that the person you are talking to wants to know how you feel. This question leaves some people confused, not knowing what exactly to say.
So, the most common answer is, “I am fine”. But is this the correct way to answer this question? This question has different meanings and answers depending on the context and where you live. For instance, in Hebrew, “how are you?” means “hello”.
In Russia, the question means that the person wants to know exactly how you are doing. So the context is very important when you are answering this question. Nevertheless, in most instances, in the standard English language, “how are you” simply means “hello”.
In America, it’s normal for two people to ask each other this question as a form of greeting. Just a formal “fine” is enough in your response, followed by the same question. The conversation usually goes like this:
“Mike, how are you?”
“Fine, how are you doing?”
But if you want to respond to “how are you” by letting the other person know your condition, you are free to do so, but it has to be a short response. It should go like this:
“Mike, how are you?”
“Doing great. I closed the Smith deal.”
In short, the person asking you, “how are you?” doesn’t mean to probe the depth of your well-being or soul; they are just making a polite conversation. If someone wants to, specifically, know how you are doing, they will ask something like:
“I haven’t seen you in years. What have you been up to?”
However, if a doctor asks you, “how are you”, you are supposed to tell them the truth about your condition. That’s why context is very important when you are answering this question.
Greetings That People Use That Can Be Repeated Back to Them
The English language offers numerous ways for people to greet each other in both formal and informal conversations. Most of these greetings are simple back-and-forth questions that people ask each other when they meet. Here are some of the greetings that people repeat back to each other.
• How are you?
• How are ya? (“Ya” is mostly used in this greeting instead of “you” to make it less formal).
• How are things?
• How are things going?
• How’s it going?
• What’s going on?
• How have you been? (This is another simple way of asking “How are you?” but it’s more focused on the recent past).
• How’s everyone?
• How’s everyone doing? (It shows the other person that you care about their people).
• What’s up? Whazzup? or Sup? (“What’s up?” and all its alternatives are slang for “How are you?” They are commonly used with friends).
• What’s happening? (This is another slang version of “How are you?”).
• What are you up to these days?
• What’s new?
• What’s shaking?
• What’s shakin’?
• How are you holding up? (This is another form of “How are you?” especially if you know they have gone through some difficulties).
• Doing OK?
• Everything OK?
Different Ways to Say Hello in English
There are many creative ways to say “hello” in English to the people you meet every day. Whether you are starting a casual conversation with a friend or relative, or you are preparing for a business or job interview, you need to know the various ways to use “hello” to start a conversation. If you are wondering what else you can say instead of “hello”, here are different ways of saying it.
1. Hi – It is the short form of hello. The best response is “hi”.
2. Hey! – This is the casual and short version of hello. It is normally used with friends and family. You respond with “hey!”
3. Hi there! – This can be used when you are greeting someone from a distance, or when you’ve not seen someone for a long time. The best response is “hey there!”
4. Hey man! – This is normally used with someone you recognize, but don’t remember their name. Their response is likely to be “hey man!”
5. Hey bro! – It’s a casual way of greeting a close male friend. The perfect response is “hey bro!”
6. Hey siz! – It’s normally used with close female friends. Respond with the same phrase.
7. Hey dude! – It’s a casual way of greeting an acquaintance. The response should be “hey” or “hey dude!”
8. Hey buddy! – It’s also a casual way of greeting a friend. Respond with “hey” or “hey buddy!”
9. Yo! – This is a slang word for a casual hello. The response is the same, “yo!”
10. Howdy! – This is normally used in South America as an informal way of saying hello. Respond with just a nod and a smile.
11. Hey, y’all! – “Y’all” is short for “you all” and it’s used to refer to a group of people. Respond with a simple “fine”.